Since the day Sushant Singh Rajput had committed suicide, everyone is pointing their fingers towards Filmi nepotism. The present-day Hindi film industry is mostly run on the whims of family-driven production houses. There is no denying the fact that it takes a lot of time for a self-made or an independent artist to get recognized in Bollywood.
After what happened with actor Sushant Singh Rajput, Nepotism and Favouritism are no longer just simple acts of collegiate groups. Let’s dive deeper into the topic.
What are Nepotism and Favouritism?
Nepotism and Favouritism are closely related but are not similar in meaning.
Collins Dictionary defines Nepotism as “unfair use of power to get jobs or other benefits for your family or friends.”
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Whereas, Favouritism, as explained by Collins Dictionary, is “the practice of giving special treatment to a person or a group.”
Nepotism is based on kinship. It is a type of Favouritism shown to one’s own family. Favoritism is a broader term for backing someone. It may or may not be towards a family member.
These practices are not confined to the entertainment industry only. They also prevail in other fields like politics, sports, or the business world.
The debate over Nepotism and Favouritism
The world is divided into ‘haves’ and ‘have nots.’ Here, in the debate of Nepotism and Favouritism, especially in Bollywood, the ‘haves’ are born with a silver spoon and get everything on a platter. Whereas the ‘have nots’ have to work hard to achieve opportunities that ‘haves’ get so quickly.
There are two sides to a coin and two versions of every story. Let’s flip the coin and talk about both the positives and negatives of Nepotism and Favouritism.
Often, private companies employ family members, relatives, or associates to pass on what they consider as a family legacy.
A successful businessman will obviously want his children to become more successful than him. In this hope, he hands over his legacy to his children. As parents are blinded by the supreme love for their children, they will not want them to face the same problems that they had encountered. They believe that they have worked hard for their future generation.
As far as we think, this is the main reason that Nepotism and Favouritism have grown their roots in every industry.
When this culture starts hindering the growth of potential workers, it has then reached a toxic level. The major downside of Nepotism is for deserving candidates robbing off the opportunities. The system where the less talented people get ahead of the gifted people starts emerging. And it is definitely an injustice to talented and deserving people.
Coming back to Bollywood, which is infamous for effortlessly giving projects to children and relatives of big filmy clans. Thus, Nepotism and Favouritism is a very disputable topic in the filmy world.
Artists who get favors will repeatedly say that apart from a filmy background, hard work and talent are the two primary ingredients required to succeed. While others will reject this claim and argue that they have potential and always work hard. But devoid of any filmy connection or Godfather, they are not getting any projects.
Many success stories in Bollywood started from auditioning for small roles and eventually landing into a significant break. They are really talented and self-made stars. While there are also failure stories that began by getting a lead role without giving any audition. And then heading their way out to the industry because of lack of talent. They represent the Bandara-Juhu filmy kids’ group. But this is not a case for every Star kid.
It may look that some undeserving people misuse their family connections in a particular field to get opportunities. But others are genuinely talented and would have been prosperous even without any favoritism. And that is the reason why one cannot hastily say that Nepotism is the only ground for the success of people working under a big family name.
Having a pool of family members in the entertainment industry can indeed back the privileged ones with opportunities. But it is not like catching a finger and holding their whole hand. They can only give them a head start. But eventually, it is the talent of an individual that makes him or her flourish in the long run.
What do Celebrities think about Nepotism?
After Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, social media is raging with anger against Nepotism and Favouritism. Many have criticized filmmaker Karan Johar’s casting decisions. He has launched star kids like Alia Bhatt (daughter of filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt), Varun Dhawan (son of filmmaker David Dhawan), Ananya Pandey (daughter of actor Chunky Pandey), etc. This has created an impression of favoring only the star kids under his production house, Dharma Productions.
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Apart from Karan Johar, net citizens have trolled actors like Alia Bhatt, Sonam Kapoor, Ananya Pandey, and many more. They feel like that many Bollywood production houses discriminates with outsiders or commoners.
Some celebrities accept that Nepotism prevails in Bollywood while some scrapped the claims. Many of them have come out and expressed their opinions on the debate of Nepotism and Favouritism in the film industry.
- Tiger Shroff
Actor Tiger Shroff is the son of Bollywood’s celebrated actor, Jackie Shroff. Tiger made his debut with ‘Heropanti’ in 2014. He was last seen with Hrithik Roshan in the movie ‘War’ in 2019.
Recently, in an interview with a news agency, he has shared his experience in Bollywood and also talked about the insider vs. outsider debate. Tiger Shroff said while it is simple for those who belong to the film industry to get first attention, but the expectations from them are very high.
When asked about the pressure of being a star’s son, he clarified that he had worked very hard to get out of his father’s shadow and has always desired to make it on his own.
- Kangana Ranaut
Bollywood Queen Kangana Ranaut is a self-made actor. She debuted with ‘Gangster’ in 2006. National Award winner Kangana Ranaut has delivered some significant roles in movies like ‘Fashion’ (2008), ‘Tanu weds Manu’ (2011), ‘Queen’ (2014), etc.
She is known for her bold personality and fearless statements. The subject of Nepotism and Favouritism is not new to her. Kangana Ranaut has time-to-time raised questions on the archaic practices of Nepotism.
While sharing her story of struggle in Bollywood, Kangana once said, “Most of my contemporaries can’t relate to the struggle I have gone through, most of their parents are either superstars or army officers or filmmakers.”
After Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, she posted an Instagram video talking about how he would have been side-lined, alienated, bullied, and mocked. Calling the star kids “Nepo Kids,” she had made wild allegations on big production houses. Kangana Ranaut’s explosive words in the video were “Ye suicide ni planned murder that”
- Tara Sutaria
‘Student of the Year 2’ actor Tara Sutaria has also spoken on Nepotism. Being an outsider herself, Tara has opened her experience ” I don’t think there has been any disadvantage. No one treated me differently or anything..”.
Tara Sutaria made her debut with Dharma Production’s ‘Student of the Year 2’ (2019). When asked her about Nepotism, she said, “..with the debate constantly in the media about Dharma Productions, nepotism and all of these silly things that people constantly talk about.” She is not perplexed by insider and outsider debate.
Tara Sutaria was last seen in Milap Zaveri’s ‘Marjaavan’ (2019) alongside Sidharth Malhotra and Riteish Deshmukh.
- Sonam Kapoor Ahuja
Actor Sonam Kapoor Ahuja is the daughter of legendary actor Anil Kapoor. The fashion diva of Bollywood made her debut with ‘Saawariya’ (2007) opposite Ranbir Kapoor.
Sonam Kapoor made a particular Instagram post on father’s day in which she tried to slam all those who think that she doesn’t deserve to be in Bollywood. Sonam Kapoor is one of the actors who have been trolled online, saying that she’s been in the industry because of the popularity of her father. Sonam agreed that she is privileged.
A long ago, Sonam Kapoor, on a chat show, stated that “he (her father) has worked really hard only for his children and if I don’t take advantage of his hard work, which he did for us, then it will be a little disrespectful towards his work because every man or a woman, a mother or a father works for their children.”
- Vivek Oberoi
Actor Vivek Oberoi is the son of Bollywood actor Suresh Oberoi. He made his debut with Ram Gopal Verma’s ‘Company’ (2002). Vivek won two Filmfare awards for his debut movie.
Recently, he is being trolled online and regarded as a “product of nepotism.” Vivek Oberoi responded that such remarks will brush aside his years of struggle and hard work.
Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta, who has made movies like ‘Musafir’ (2004), ‘Shootout at Wadala” (2013), etc. clarified all the comments made on Vivek Oberoi. He answered one of his follower’s comments by saying Vivek’s father has nothing to do with his career. Vivek thanked Sanjay Gupta for backing him.
In an interview, Vivek Oberoi said that when he was looking for his debut movie, he declined a cinema which was backed by his father. Instead, he went for a distinctive movie called ‘Company.’
- Sara Ali Khan
Sara Ali Khan is the daughter of actor Saif Ali Khan and actress Amrita Singh. She made her debut with ‘Kedarnath’ (2018) opposite Sushant Singh Rajput. Sara was last seen in ‘Love Aaj Kal’ (2020). Her upcoming movie ‘Coolie No. 1’ with Varun Dhawan is ready to be released in 2020.
On asked about Nepotism and privileges, Sara Ali Khan asserted that she would not dodge questions on them. She is well aware of the unfairness that Nepotism came with and claimed that she has access to more things than any outsider could have.
“The only thing I want to do is to make my mark in the industry and be remembered for my characters and not just as Saif Ali Khan’s daughter,” she further added.
- Meghna Gulzar
Director, the writer, and producer, Meghna Gulzar, is the daughter of a famous poet and lyricist Gulzar and actress Raakhee. She has made incredible movies like ‘Raazi’ (2018), ‘Chhapaak’ (2020).
In a panel discussion held in an international film festival in Goa, Meghna called herself as a living example of Nepotism. She felt that she could not run away from her identity, she is who she is, and it can’t be changed. But Meghna shared her tales of struggle that how she had to wait hours outside a film studio to meet an actor. She also said that her first movie was a flop. And it was only after seven years that her next film was released.
- Ankita Lokhande
Actor Ankita Lokhande started her career with a daily soap ‘Pavitra Rishta’ and made her debut with Kangana Ranaut’s ‘Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi’ (2019).
When asked to speak on Nepotism, Ankita affirmed that she doesn’t require a Godfather just like other commoners who are working hard without any filmy connection. Ankita further added that she is not in a rat race with someone. Hoping for some good scripts, she was contented with her role in Manikarnika.
- Rajkumar Rao
Actor Rajkumar Rao made his debut with Dibakar Banerjee’s ‘Love Sex Aur Dhoka’ (2010). He is considered one of the finest actors of Bollywood. Rajkumar Rao was a recipient of a National award for ‘Shahid’ (2014).
Rajkumar once said, “My only concern is when because of Favouritism I have to see non-talented people in films… I want to see the talent on screen. I don’t care where they come from or which family they belong to.”
- Kriti Sanon
Kriti Sanon debuted in Bollywood with ‘Heropanti’ (2014) alongside Tiger Shroff in 2014. As an outsider, she has faced evil practices of Nepotism too.
Talking about if Nepotism has hampered her career, she claimed that she was once replaced by a star kid in a movie. Kriti also told that if she has been born in a film family, she will not reach out for work so desperately.